And you should feel cold

Yet another reason why everybody is morbidly obese, apart from the desk job and the trans fats and the Pringles:

Keeping your house cool has benefits beyond reducing heating costs, because cold temperatures activate a substance called brown fat that adults carry on their upper back and neck. (Babies have it, too, since they can’t shiver effectively.) Also known as brown adipose tissue, brown fat acts as an internal furnace that consumes many calories, unlike regular fat, which stores extra energy and calories. The only catch is that brown fat must be activated first in order to start burning calories, and cool temperatures can do that.

A new study from Britain links rising indoor temperatures to obesity. Central heating has become common in American and British homes since 1960, and room temperatures and obesity have risen simultaneously.

Not that anyone actually eats more during colder times of the year, like from, oh, let’s say, late November through the first couple of days of January.

This is, I think, the first time that actual shivering has been pitched to me as some sort of health benefit. (Which explains why the homeless live so much longer than the rest of us, right?) I remain persuaded that this is a plot by the Death Panels™ to make us all wish we were dead and thereby save them some work.

(Via Fark.)


  1. Tatyana »

    30 November 2013 · 3:15 pm

    Oh Chaz, you can’t imagine how grateful I am for your critical common sense.
    First time in whole day – something reasonable!

    In the gym this morning there was a gtrainer who passionately (yeah, that’s correct usage) preached avoidance of caffeine for over-45 women: she blamed it for menopause! “I made my mother to give up coffee and Coke; it took some doing but now she is free of the poison. And her menses returned – at 55! I knooow, the GYN OB doctor was astounded!”

    And the rest of the day…one ofter another, each with their own perfect health recipe, each w/ more BS content…

  2. fillyjonk »

    30 November 2013 · 4:49 pm

    Yeah, considering the icy temperature of my office and the labs I teach in these days, and my continuing battles with my tendency towards Huttitude, I don’t buy that for one freakin’ second.

    It’s just another, “Hey, you proles, be miserable in the name of it being good for you” thing.

    (I will say I’m surprised to learn humans make brown fat – I learned it as an adaptation of things like woodchucks, which actually use it while hibernating.)

    And Tat: if what your trainer said was true? I’d be increasing my intake of caffeine….

  3. Charles Pergiel »

    30 November 2013 · 6:46 pm

    Ha ha ha! Ho ho ho! LOL!

  4. Tatyana »

    1 December 2013 · 7:32 am

    FJ: true! I already had a cuppa

  5. Mark Alger »

    2 December 2013 · 8:40 am

    I call BS. Casa d’Alger is generally kept between 65 and 70 degrees year ’round. If being cold burned fat, I’d weigh half what I do now.


  6. Jack Baruth »

    2 December 2013 · 1:34 pm

    It’s true that when I walked to university in 1990, during the winter, I was eighty pounds lighter than I am now.

    Wait a minute, I’m going to turn down this thermostat.

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